Tag Archives: Garmisch

christmas dinner – The continuing saga of how I ate my way through Germany

Returning from a walk around the Eibsee lake at the base of the Zugspitz, I checked the Christmas market schedule posted on our hotel bulletin board. The market was open till 8 p.m., but the only event listed was “Schmankerln.”

I asked Nicole, the assistant manager, “Was ist ‘schmankerln’?” She fumbled for a moment, looked at the others working behind the counter. “Schmankerln is …”
“Food?” I asked.
“Yes, but it’s more of a, well, you know … Bavarian Schmankerln!” she said with a laugh.
Finally, Julian, the hotel owner, said, “It’s like tapas. Small portions.”
Later I found the translation online: delicacies.

As anyone would do, I immediately decided to eat all the Schmankerln at the market. This would be the best Christmas dinner EVER!

We started with bratwurst and gluhwein, of course.

Moved on to Schupfnudeln, fried gnocchi-like noodles with meat sauce, cheese and sour cream.

Gulasch soup with rye bread.

Mmm … creamy raclette – melted cheese on potatoes.

More soup. Pumpkin, usually my favorite. Disappointing.

Tony finally got embarrassed and went back to the hotel. I wish I had a dollar for every time that’s happened.

Moving right along … possibly the highlight of the night: a crepe with camembert cheese and “Preiselbeere” jam. I had never heard of preiselberries before, but they taste similar to cranberries.

Clearly I was too caught up in this Schmankerlfest to tuck that piece of hair back under my hat.
Next stop, hot roasted chestnuts. Yum!

By this time, the Schokohütte didn’t appeal to me, but I had to soldier on. Dark-chocolate covered strawberries. Surprisingly refreshing!

A bite of Summer’s marshmallowy Kussmix wrapped up the tour of Bavarian tapas.

Sharon takes her second – and last – snowboarding lesson

Against my better judgment, I let Mike convince me to take a snowboarding lesson at the Hausberg. Years ago in Turkey, I gave snowboarding a whirl with my friends, Steph and Sarah. We laughed our way through a ridiculous lesson with a Turkish instructor who didn’t speak much English. I remember falling face-first and sliding halfway down the hill till my coat was completely full of snow. Nobody would blame me for not wanting to repeat history. And yet I did.

I wish I could say this lesson turned out differently. Actually, the biggest difference was that I tended to fall backwards instead of forwards. Twice, I got some good speed going only to do a full body slam on my back, rearranging all my vertebrae and whacking my head on the ground. Good thing I was wearing that stylin’ helmet.

Still intact before heading up the mountain. That’s Kelli, our instructor, on the far right.

Tony rented skis and hit the slopes while Dad, Mike, Summer and I took the snowboarding lesson.

Dad’s helmeted and ready to go. In the gondola on the way up.

Summer at Kinderland. Yes, we took our lesson at Kinderland.

Go, Dad, go! Stop, Dad, stop!

My favorite part of the lesson – lunch!

Pear schnapps – seriously? What are we, 17?

Dad and I bailed on the second half of our lesson after he did a cartoon-style roll down the hill, kicking up snow and lodging in some deep powder. (You gotta admire the guy. At age 66, he tried snowboarding for the first time. A fantastic skiier, he admitted snowboarding wasn’t his forté.) He and I stayed here at the D-9 Restaurant, edrinking hot chocolate and coffee and resting our weary bodies while Mike and Summer continued to tackle the mountain.

Tony makes one last run to the bottom of the mountain. We took the gondola down.

Kelli is clearly proud of Mike and Summer and disappointed in Dad and me.

Frauendorfer Restaurant

A visit to Garmisch is never complete for my family without an evening at the Frauendorfer Restaurant. Wedged in at long tables, we chatted with other guests, watched awkward tween boys perform traditional Alpine dancing, listened to live accordion music and yodeling, and gobbled up delicious Bavarian specialties.




We have no idea what was in these shots, but they knocked my socks off.

Partnachklamm – a little hike in the Alps

Bundled up and dizzy with excitement over the pristine Bavarian wonderland, we tackled the Partnachklamm hike on our first full day in Garmisch. Just a short distance from our hotel, we parked at the Olympic Ice Stadium, built for the 1936 Olympics and home to an annual ski jumping competition. We followed the river on a cleared trail past vast fields of unspoilt snow, postcard-perfect log homes with lace curtains and antlers over the doorway, fence posts capped with tall snowy towers, and evergreens powdered white. Occasionally, a branch would shake off its load, sprinkling us with snow (sometimes with a little help from Mike).

In the stadium.



Walking to the gorge.

After about half an hour, we reached the Partnach Gorge.

The gorge, carved by a mountain stream, is about 70 meters (230 feet) long and up to 80 meters (260 feet) deep. A path carved into the rock weaves up and down, in and out of tunnels, along the sheer rock faces dripping with icicles. We could imagine the danger faced by 18th-century residents of the valley who sent firewood through the gorge on timber rafts down to the town of Partenkirchen. In fact, a crucifix marks a memorial for men who lost their lives in the river. In 1912, the gorge was designated a natural monument.






Summer escorted Mom back through the gorge to catch a gondola to the top, while the rest of us continued the hike. The gorge trail emerged in a beautiful forest, where a steep track led to several guesthouses.


We ultimately reached an altitude of 888 meters (almost 3,000 feet) for lunch at Forsthaus Graseck, a gorgeous guesthouse decked out like my parents’ basement (lots of pelts and antlers). After warming up with gulasch soup and gluhwein, we caught the gondola back down the mountain.




Wunderbar Garmischer Hof

Since arriving in Germany about 24 hours ago, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m home. I was born here and graduated from high school here. Overall, I spent more than six years of my life in this country. Emerging from the Munich Airport, we had to walk through a Christmas market – light snow, holiday music, twinkly lights and the familiar smell of bratwursts grilling – to reach the car rental agency. Ahhh … home.

Tony was awesome behind the wheel, despite a four-month break since he last drove and despite living in India, where they drive on the wrong side of the road. As a navigator, I was less effective and we took a circuitous route to Garmisch. That wouldn’t have been a big deal except that the snow started falling in earnest about 30 kilometers from our destination. Fortunately, we arrived with no problems and checked in to the Garmischer Hof, a cozy little hotel with traditional Bavarian decor.

After unpacking, we found a comfy spot in the lobby and had just ordered beers when the rest of our clan showed up: my parents, my brother, Mike, and his wife, Summer. We spent the evening in the guesthouse restaurant, catching up and making plans for the week.

As you may know, my happiness often hinges on breakfast, and the Garmischer Hof didn’t disappoint. My eyes filled with tears of utter contentment when I bit off a piece of crunchy brotchen spread with soft nutty cheese. Seriously, I cried over the cheese. “You gotta love a country that eats salami and Nutella for breakfast!” said Tony.

Here are a few shots of the Garmischer Hof, our home away from home for nine days.